Many animal bones from the last Ice Age discovered in an English town

It was during the construction of a new town called Sherford in the county of Devon, near Plymouth, that researchers discovered the remains of animals that lived during the last ice age. These were bones found at the construction site of 5,500 new homes.

The project in question had started in 2015 and had hired archaeologists. The latter thus discovered bones belonging to, among others, a woolly mammoth, a woolly rhinoceros, a hyena and a wolf.

Archaeologists found these animal remains while excavating in a cave. They also discovered the remains of a horse, a reindeer, a hare, a red fox, as well as bones belonging to other mammals such as bats.

The dating of the bones

According to the results of the examination of these animal remains, they date from the middle Devensian period, that is to say 30,000 to 60,000 years ago. However, it remains to be seen if all these animals had lived at the same time or if they accumulated in the cave over a longer period.

AC Archeology Credits

The middle Devensian period was characterized by a very cold and dry climate in Devon, as explained by Victoria Herridge, a fossil elephant specialist at the new museum The Box. But the area also featured a huge open grassland, capable of supporting large herds. Thanks to their ability to withstand the cold, woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos and reindeer, as well as large carnivores such as hyenas and wolves were able to live there.

A discovery of national importance

According to the project’s principal archaeologist and no less the general manager of the Orion Heritage company, Rob Bourn, this discovery is a unique experience for those involved in the project. “Finding such an array of intact artifacts is a rare and special event. The presence of complete or semi-complete individual animals is just as rare.”he said.

After the completion of the excavation phase, the project’s archaeological team will focus on the scrupulous study of the bones outside the site. The animal remains will then be displayed at The Box museum. As for the site, the Sherford Consortium, promoter of the project, decided to preserve it by prohibiting any construction inside or above the cave.

SOURCE: Livescience

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